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Old 11-23-2009, 04:36 PM   #31
Lobby
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Thank you so much for this Ride Report, but more for the idea for another motorcycle trip, or even a trip with my wife.

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Old 11-23-2009, 04:44 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsyrr
Parts of Mexico are enchanting, as your report and photos show.

I've been to Saltillo several times but never made it further west to Parras de la Fuente. This summer, however, I spent time further south; south of Mexico City and southwest of the city in some ancient cities reminiscent of Santorini - the type of places where travel by motorcycle is ideal!
The second report in my sigtag has Saltillo in it (after riding The Three Sisters west of San Antonio). I think the older central part of Saltillo is wonderful. Mexico and much of Latin America has the gift, by accidental fate mostly, of having maintained their antiquity in terms of architecture. Now, however, by design they are seeking to preserve this antiquity. Much seems to have been destroyed for the sake of modernity between WW2 and the 70's. Sometime in the 80's the madness stopped as various governments realized they were ruining their respective heritages. One place in particular that used to be beautiful was Paseo Colon in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was the Champs Elysee of Central America. Now only a few structures of its former greatness remain. Such a shame. I remember when Bunker Hill in Los Angeles was destroyed for the sake of modernity. So sad I was seeing those houses come down. I am all for the preservation of architecture as art, it represents culture and heritage.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:46 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobby
Thank you so much for this Ride Report, but more for the idea for another motorcycle trip, or even a trip with my wife.

Lobby! Good to see you upstairs again! You got any specific questions just ask away.
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:19 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro Navaja
Lobby! Good to see you upstairs again! You got any specific questions just ask away.



I spend MOST of my time upstairs. But unfortunately, it appears I have a reputation for being in the basement.



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Old 11-23-2009, 08:22 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Lobby


I spend MOST of my time upstairs. But unfortunately, it appears I have a reputation for being in the basement.



Lol! I ventured down there only a few times. Pretty soon one topic turns me into writing 50 posts. I saw that and said, "Get me out of here!"
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:34 PM   #36
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But Never been (to that one, anyway).
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Old 11-23-2009, 09:10 PM   #37
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Casa Madero

So as I pedal out of town on the bicycle, I can actually coast to the oldest winery in the Americas, Casa Madero. If I can coast to it, then getting back to town is going to be a pedaling challenge, maybe.

This is the San Lorenzo vineyard which is the prinicpal vineyard of Casa Madero wines, founded by monks circa 1597. Ownership of the vineyard changed hands several times but finally winds up in the hands of the Madero family. Yes this is the same family of the famed Francisco Madero I referred to in post #4. His grandfather was the purchaser. If you haven't already, then go back to post #4 and click on the link to read about Francisco Madero. Though a revolutionary democrat, Francisco Madero came from an aristocratic family. That family to this day owns the Casa Madero winery and the family is very revered in Parras. They are also philanthropists.

Here are some photos of the complex and later I will take you inside the buildings with my guide don Francisco.

As mentioned in my Saltillo ride report, most large agrarian properties in Latin American had a chapel on site.



Grapes have already been harvested, but the vines must be maintained.


The grounds are kept pleasing to the eye.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:17 AM   #38
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Inside Casa Madero

Casa Madero (the San Lorenzo vineyard) is a grape growing, wine producing and bottling operation. It also contains a museum dedicated to the industry. Both old and new technologies can be examined there, however, there is limited access to the actual modern production facilities. Well maybe...

This is my guide don Francisco.



When I got to the winery the guard at the entrance told me that there was only one guide (low season for visitors) and that he had just left with a group of thirty people. I would have to wait. So I did, and just walked around parts of the vineyard where I was not supposed to be. That's where I took some of the pictures you see above.

The guide comes out with group and the group leaves. He does not look happy. I approach him and ask him how the last tour went. He says they were a bunch of high school students who showed little interest in the history of the place but were only interested in flirting with each other. I told him I would like a tour of the place and that I had ridden this bicycle from town.

He looks at me and says, "you are not Mexican, your Spanish is different. Are you from Argentina?"

I laugh and say, "no, my Spanish is not that bad, I am a Costa Rican, doble-nacionalidad with the US."

I ask how much the tour will cost. He replies that it is free and then asks how many in my group. I tell him, "there is no group, like I said earlier I rode that bicycle over here."

He replies, "so you are staying in town, how did you get to town?"

I said, "I rode my motorcycle from Houston." He just looks at me.

He then asks, "have you done this before?"

I say, "yes, several times. One trip I made to Cuatro Cienegas so that I could learn more about Carranza, now I want to learn more about Madero. I am covering major characters of the Mexican Revolution."

He asks, "you writing a book?"

I reply, "no, just for fun".

He asks, "So you study Mexican history and then ride around on a motorcycle to visit various places related to the history?"

Me, "Something like that?" He just looks at me.


We start the tour of Casa Madero.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:38 AM   #39
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Most of what is considered "antiquity" or typical in Latin America only constitutes part of the very recent history of invasion to the continent. The real history of the land and it's people is constantly overlooked and sadly misunderstood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro Navaja
The second report in my sigtag has Saltillo in it (after riding The Three Sisters west of San Antonio). I think the older central part of Saltillo is wonderful. Mexico and much of Latin America has the gift, by accidental fate mostly, of having maintained their antiquity in terms of architecture. Now, however, by design they are seeking to preserve this antiquity. Much seems to have been destroyed for the sake of modernity between WW2 and the 70's. Sometime in the 80's the madness stopped as various governments realized they were ruining their respective heritages. One place in particular that used to be beautiful was Paseo Colon in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was the Champs Elysee of Central America. Now only a few structures of its former greatness remain. Such a shame. I remember when Bunker Hill in Los Angeles was destroyed for the sake of modernity. So sad I was seeing those houses come down. I am all for the preservation of architecture as art, it represents culture and heritage.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:56 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro Navaja

I said, "I rode my motorcycle from Houston." He just looks at me.

He then asks, "have you done this before?"

.....He asks, "So you study Mexican history and then ride around on a motorcycle to visit various places related to the history?"

Me, "Something like that?" He just looks at me.

I really enjoyed the transcript of your conversation with the tour guide. I get the feeling sometimes when I meet people traveling in C.A. they either think I'm crazy or admire the freedom and adventure of it all. Talking with people along the route is my favorite thing, and they seem as curious of me, as I am of them, lots of fun. Gracias para tu reporte.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:57 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatmo
Most of what is considered "antiquity" or typical in Latin America only constitutes part of the very recent history of invasion to the continent. The real history of the land and it's people is constantly overlooked and sadly misunderstood.
I think the efforts to preserve what can be preserved of pre-Colombian art and history has made some very important strides in the last decades, as opposed to the senseless obliteration before, and also the stealing of artifacts. True, much was lost, but new discoveries are being made, and a much deeper appreciation is now being held.

As for the social and political aspects, I would love to discuss that, but not in a ride report. That's a topic for JoMomma.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:58 AM   #42
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...think I'm crazy or admire the freedom and adventure of it all...
I assure you they think we are crazy
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:03 PM   #43
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Looking inside the winery...

Wine production is a fairly complicated process, and it has gotten more complicated since its ancient origins. In the following we will see museum aspects and actual production aspects. Keep in mind however, all of the casks that you see are for actual production.

Grapes are of course pressed. You can stomp them with your feet using the barrel on the left, or you can use a variety of mechanical presses (museum).



Production also requires distillation (museum). By the way, brandy is also made at Casa Madero.


Mechanical presses (museum).





Modern chemistry lab and industry specific chemists are employed (actual).



The type of wood used for the casks is important. They are categorized. Here we can see that American Oak is being used (actual)




Here we have Hungarian Oak (actual).




Casks are stored in temperature controlled environments, miles of it, and in different sized casks (actual).












There is a lot of wine here! Now it gets bottled (actual).



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Old 11-24-2009, 03:37 PM   #44
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My time with my guide don Francisco has about come to an end. I want you all notice that in the above pictures of the bottling operation that no people were in there bottling, except for one. They were all at lunch and I came to find out that don Francisco had given me much more than the standard tour. In fact the tour went into his own lunch time. During the tour he had some of the workers give me wine from the production casks as the wine was pumped to the bottling operation, this was before the lunch break. This is not normal. In fact I was in areas not open to "tourists". I had a lot of wine to drink as well! Don Francisco also let me sample quite a bit of the brandy. Below is a special cask containing brandy.




I sampled freely. I thought I was going to die with my first sip. This stuff goes right through the roof of your mouth straight to the brain. Don Francisco found it quite funny when I started choking after the first sip. "Slow down," he tells me while laughing.

I enjoyed my conversations about Mexican history with him, and I hope he felt the same. As we are leaving the winery complex he shows me the patron santa of wine. He tells me I was wise to take the bicycle here instead of the motorcycle since he can tell I am tipsy from the wine and the brandy. He is laughing. I insist on tipping him for the tour. He refuses to take the tip. An argument ensues just like with the guy who wanted to let me have the bike for free. I stuff P$100 into his hand, jump on the bicycle and take off.
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:37 PM   #45
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I like most any report in Latinamerica, but I really like one like this that goes into the history, or explains a particular aspect of life.

What part of Costa Rica are you from?
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